Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Generous Heart

Okay, I thought I was having trouble cultivating a grateful heart, well, that is a breeze now compared to trying to cultivate a generous heart.
I feel nasty. I feel mean. I feel wicked. And as much as I wish I were different in dealing with this situation, I'm not at all sure I have a true desire to change the situation.
I definitely need a change of heart before I can develop a generous heart. But isn’t a desire to change the first step in actually changing? So really how do I cultivate a desire to change my heart?

Let me explain.
It is almost Summer and soon the pool parties and pool volleyball games will be starting and I will be inviting family and friends to join in the fun. Well, not all family and friends. I’m a snob about who I include. Not everybody makes the cut. I only include people that I feel comfortable around, I only invite people that I have fun with. And I exclude the rest. That is nasty, mean and wicked, that’s all there is to it. How do I change this feeling of wanting to exclude people?

I don’t mind so much being around people I have nothing in common with, but I don’t like being around people who make me feel like I have to walk on eggshells when they are near. I wouldn’t mind if we could just agree to disagree and move on, but when people who have the opposite view of mine are so vocal about their opinion, and they think that anyone who disagrees with them is just plain stupid, well, that kind of person I don’t want around me. I don’t enjoy at all being made to feel stupid for my political or religious views. And I hate being put in the position of trying to defend my views and beliefs or my religion. And, yet, if I remain silent that makes me just as anxious, plus it makes me feel cowardly. So I usually deal with the situation by ignoring and avoiding it at all cost, or rather ignoring and avoiding the people who I feel create the ugly situations for me. I know ~ nasty, mean and wicked, and not at all the sign of a generous heart. Because when I ignore and avoid these people, I am excluding them from my life, I am excluding them from my circle of family and friends, and I am excluding them from an opportunity of something they might find just as enjoyable or enriching as I do.

I try to make excuses for my selfish heart by putting the blame on others. I tell myself that there is the added factor of those whose company I do so enjoy. They will not be very happy if I include the ‘nay-sayers’, because the sole purpose for coming over to our home is for them to relax and enjoy themselves. There’s not much ‘fun’ or relaxation in having to watch every little comment you make, and I can well understand their stance as I share those same feelings. It is certainly much easier for me to feel generous toward the ‘fun’ people than it is to feel generous toward the 'not-so-enjoyable-to-be-around' people! But that is certainly not in line with developing a generous heart!

A generous heart does not judge. (I judge.)
A generous heart does not exclude. (I exclude.)
A generous heart is compassionate. (I’m not so very compassionate.)
A generous heart is kind. (I’m not so very kind either.)
A generous heart is peaceful. (My heart is definitely not at peace right now.)

So, does anyone have any ideas on how I go about developing a change of heart and start cultivating a generous heart? And when/if I do, how do I get others on board?
Any and all suggestions are welcome!


  1. Eileen, your post brought this old saying to mind:
    "Be who you say you are....and say what you feel....because those that matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter"
    I have been reading your post for several weeks now and not once have I ever considered you to be wicked, mean or nasty. You, "Eileen" do not belong in the same sentence as these words, now if I were to describe you my blogger friend I would use the words, loving, kind, considerate and caring. This is how I see you through reading your blog and comments not only to me but to others.
    Have a wonderful day my loving, kind, considerate and caring friend.....:-) Hugs

  2. Guess it's important to remember that we MUST love everyone but we don't have to like them! It's not all about inviting your local mugger/robber/gossiper, etc, over for tea, but praying for him/her or meeting sometime one on one with someone unpleasant and disarming them with love or loving words.

    There are some people who can change when we first change our attitudes towards them (like Mr. Sunshine)and others who cannot or will not, so we leave them in the Hands of God.

    But, my sweet Eileen, do NOT be so hard on are a wonderful person, but causing chaos or unhappiness with devisive people among peaceful is not a good thing.

    Love a lot, judge very little...something I'm getting better at, but I am God's work in progress, so I stumble and all.

    It's my blessing to know you and be a little part of your life!

    blessings with love,


  3. If these "people" are loved ones just smile and stay away from "touchy topics" maybe have a "one on one" and express your love and acceptance for your different views with them and let them know your feelings of sadness brought on by verbal discussions...if they still choose to beat you up verbally...don't invite back...or maybe you could create funny appropriate cute little signs and post them around for your friendly get "No Political Talk Please" or "No Debates Allowed Please" with smiley faces...humour goes a long way to diffuse problems.

    If these people are just friends and they verbally beat you up...they are not real friends to start.

  4. Lord grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.....I have to repeat this several times....a week...a day.....some people in order to feel better about themselves, have to make others feel worse...

    I don't know you personally, but you seem like a very compassionate and positive love your family, your life, your friends and your hobbies....keep your beliefs, your passion and your views...don't change....just relax and enjoy the ride...

  5. Thanks for all the wonderful comments! I don't know if my family would agree with you though!

    Bernie, you are too kind to me and give me too much credit! I like to look at me through your eyes though!

    And, Marcy, NO ONE can compare to you in the 'NICE' department! Comparing myself to you is like comparing myself to Mother Teresa! Something that's almost impossible to attain! But you do motivate me to improve myself.

    Wanda, LOVE the sign idea! I could have a little ready-made sign "NO POLITICS OR RELIGION DISCUSSED BEYOND THIS POINT", and depending on who's coming over I could hang it right on the front door!

    And, Sandy, I love that Prayer of St. Francis. And you have very good advice! Especially the 'relax and enjoy the ride', you're so right.

  6. Eileen I am looking at your dilemma from a totally different view. It would simply be impossible to invite everyone all of the time. That in itself would naturally create some disorder to say the least.

    It is natural for us mere human beings to segregate ourselves. God knows this and accepts us for what we are.

    This is not to say that we can't try to better ourselves. You are always trying to do just that. We can tell just by reading your blogs. This is all we are expected to do. Not be perfect, because that will never be. God knows this as well.

    I really liked Wanda's solution. But I have another. It would be a test for you. Perhaps a time or two you could invite only those that you feel uncomfortable around. This may perhaps change the whole setting of the day and may give you a different perspective on some of them when the people from your comfort zone are not there.

    In any case, you are what you are. And I do believe that it would be impossible to get along with everyone.Your heart is genuine and filled with love already. Just do what it tells you to do.

  7. I think what you just described is how we all are. Only you admitting it, and the rest of us are still at the point of blaming others. Just my take on it. :)

  8. Thank you, Jill! It actually does make me feel better to not feel so alone in this!

    And, Diana, YOU'RE DR. PHIL!! How analytical and insightful you are!
    And, you know, it's not that I don't love these people, I love them very much, so I guess that's all I should concentrate on.
    And you are so right about stepping outside my comfort zone, that's very small window I have there. I guess I just need to take a leap of Faith!

  9. This is a very difficult situation to be in. I know because I have encountered the same type of situations in my life. It's so frustrating sometimes and I just want to say grrrr.... I try to handle it this way. I try to live my life by example. God says it's easy to love the people we like and this is so true. He wants us to reach out to the difficult ones because it's so much harder. I usually look the person right in the eye when they are saying something nasty or being unkind and I say to myself God I'm doing this for you.

  10. Thank you, Carol! I thought you were going to say you look them in the eye and then honestly tell them your feelings, and I HATE confrontation! So your advice to tell God that I'm doing this for Him is not only the BEST advice for anyone, it's easier for me to do, and would make me feel so much better!

    Thank you everyone for you thoughts and advice!

  11. I suffer from these faults. Too judgmental and too, too quick to avoid interacting with those I wish to avoid.

    In Evan Almighty, the God character talks to the main character about how people pray for patience, but then curse the very situations where they can practice patience. That's how I am with being generous with my company. The phone rings, and I avoid answering if it's someone I don't want to speak with. I walk the other way at my job to avoid people who always complain. I need to seek those situations out and thank God for his faith in me that I can do better.

  12. Oh, Ann, BEAUTIFUL!
    Everyone had very good advice for me, and I thank you all, and I take it to heart.
    I like the idea of God giving me the Gift of a situation in which I have the opportunity to be generous!